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The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters violating inclusion policies


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It's been 5 years of girls being in the Scouts BSA program, and yet every time the BSA posts a picture featuring a girl in uniform on Instagram, out come the scouts, scouters, and what appears to be just random other adults to complain about girls being in the BSA.

I was in a virtual training session held by the Marketing team at National last night and a Scouter took to the chat to complain about gay and trans youth being allowed in the program.

Then I go over to reddit and read a story about a girl who got nasty looks from supposed "adults" at a restaurant because she was an Eagle Scout in uniform.

Enough is enough. These policies are set. Girls are part of this, whether anyone likes it or not. LGBTQ+ youth are part of this whether John from the Zoom chat likes it or not.

And if some folks who are registered members of this organization can't seem to get on board with that, or at the very least keep their mouths shut in public spaces about how they feel, I think the BSA should start treating these incidents like the YPT violations that they are. Comments made to make any scout feel unwelcome on the basis of gender or sexual orientation are not tolerated in the BSA, or so we're told. It's time to back that up.

Scouts who participate in this online bullying, posting negative comments on social media posts suggesting that girls aren't welcome, similarly should be dealt with according to the YPT protocols that we are reminded of in detail every 2 years. At the very least, Scoutmasters should be made aware when one of their scouts engages in online harassment of another scout. Some of these offending scouts put identifiable information their public profiles, which isn't really great but it does allow for them to be identified and possibly reported to their units' leadership.

The scouts who these comments are directed at do read them. They comment on those very same Instagram posts, although thankfully they take the high road and only comment in a positive way and ignore the harassment and bullying. But clearly they do see it and read it.

There's no point to even having a DEI officer on staff in the BSA if they're not going to enforce even these basic YPT and membership policy standards. But what does National do when faced with these kinds of things, like they were last night on that Zoom call? They talk around it in gentle terms, trying not to ruffle too many feathers.

Enough is enough. Stand up for our scouts, BSA. When John hops in the chat to voice his opinions on LGBTQ+ youth, that's the point where someone should have stepped in and immediately shut that down, in the clearest terms possible, and stated that such statements do not align with the membership policies of the BSA.

When negative comments are made on social media posts, at the very least the BSA social media managers could delete them. But I'd also like to see them follow up on those that appear to have been made by active BSA members, and investigate them as YPT violations.

It's time to stop this nonsense. Let's go, BSA.

Edited by FireStone
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There certainly is room for discussion on those points, and on CO rights when it comes to membership, etc. My concern here is not about individual units, or CO discretion when it comes to who they all

My apologies for not understanding This is a challenging time for young people. Politics and cultural extremisms are driving everyone to pick a side with no gray area. Life was simple when I

Haters gonna hate. It’s hard to toe a hard line as BSA risks losing those who disagree.  Not meant as an excuse, just a reality.  Important thing is that BSA stays on track and does not waiver.  Chang

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Haters gonna hate. It’s hard to toe a hard line as BSA risks losing those who disagree.  Not meant as an excuse, just a reality.  Important thing is that BSA stays on track and does not waiver.  Change takes time, and it will get there.  Keep advocating.  

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100% everything you just said, @FireStone! Bravo!

And for any scouts and prospective parents reading this, there are units out there that are in fact on board with the scouting movement's commitment to feminism as per @RememberSchiff's post above. I and my scout have been nothing but welcomed by our pack and council IRL, and one of the male leaders was so thrilled to see girls sweep the speed podium at our Pinewood Derby this year that he talked about it throughout teardown. There are male allies in the BSA.

Edited by AwakeEnergyScouter
Answered too quickly.
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Just to clarify my thoughts on BSA membership policy. I disagree with it (among other things) and I will speak out - in a scoutlike way to bring about IMHO positive change for kids. In moving forward, I believe we can reach workable compromises if we can agree it is for the kids.

That said, we have seen repeatedly where membership policy has changed before there was the necessary prerequisite education, facilities, and resources in place. Be prepared.

~RS

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2 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

I mostly agree.  My fear is BSA does the best when it focuses on adventure and skills.  Everything else is about natural learning.  BSA sucks when it tries to force what should be naturally learned. 

Society is debating these bigger topics.  I disagree with "start having the conversations", "promote education ... on gender equality" and "empower men and boys ... on gender equality".  I fully believe in "creating a safe space" and "build the culture".  I believe we can do that very effectively.   The trouble with the first is that society is having huge debates still on these topics.  If you have conversations, you better be ready to listen to others that don't believe as you believe.  If you shut down people that have differing opinions, then you are not having a "conversation".  If you promote, you better get ready to receive push back.

We do the best by modeling the right behavior.  Create the safe spaces.  Build the right culture.  Be kind to all.  Teach everyone.  Introduce everyone to adventure.  I believe we can do that making BSA a natural part of social change.  That's how BSA will be most effective.  ...

Leave the ugly debates to the rest of society.  Let's focus on teaching (all) scouts how to keep the inside of their tent dry and how to paddle a canoe.

Edited by fred8033
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22 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

Just to clarify my thoughts on BSA membership policy. I disagree with it (among other things) and I will speak out - in a scoutlike way to bring about IMHO positive change for kids. In moving forward, I believe we can reach workable compromises if we can agree it is for the kids.

That said, we have seen repeatedly where membership policy has changed before there was the necessary prerequisite education, facilities, and resources in place. Be prepared.

~RS

I agree with BSA's membership policies and I support them.  If anything, I wish BSA's membership policies would go further. 

But I agree with your other points and I respect your opinion.  Thank you.  It's the right way to approach this.

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1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

I mostly agree.  My fear is BSA does the best when it focuses on adventure and skills.  Everything else is about natural learning.  BSA sucks when it tries to force what should be naturally learned. 

Society is debating these bigger topics.  I disagree with "start having the conversations", "promote education ... on gender equality" and "empower men and boys ... on gender equality".  I fully believe in "creating a safe space" and "build the culture".  I believe we can do that very effectively.   The trouble with the first is that society is having huge debates still on these topics.  If you have conversations, you better be ready to listen to others that don't believe as you believe.  If you shut down people that have differing opinions, then you are not having a "conversation".  If you promote, you better get ready to receive push back.

We do the best by modeling the right behavior.  Create the safe spaces.  Build the right culture.  Be kind to all.  Teach everyone.  Introduce everyone to adventure.  I believe we can do that making BSA a natural part of social change.  That's how BSA will be most effective.  ...

Leave the ugly debates to the rest of society.  Let's focus on teaching (all) scouts how to keep the inside of their tent dry and how to paddle a canoe.

Some very cogent statements here, and it seems to me to verify my oft made comment that the changes in BSA, or our society in general, have to occur in the normal evolutionary way.  Almost every forced change finds serous societal kickbacks, and sadly, tends to bring out the worst in those with the least aptitude for interpersonal living.  We again come back to the simple premise of the "Golden Rule".  

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I guess it depends on what side of the fence one stands on where the haters are. Just look at the title of this discussion, The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters? One fairly new scouter even suggested I be censored on a discussion of mixed genders. Seems some folks are willing to push hostility to a new level to get what they want. So, explain to me why I should encourage my grandkids to join the BSA in this hostile environment. The game has lost the purpose.

Barry

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45 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I guess it depends on what side of the fence one stands on where the haters are. Just look at the title of this discussion, The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters? One fairly new scouter even suggested I be censored on a discussion of mixed genders. Seems some folks are willing to push hostility to a new level to get what they want. So, explain to me why I should encourage my grandkids to join the BSA in this hostile environment. The game has lost the purpose.

Barry

There is certainly more hostility and rudeness everywhere today.

IMHO, correcting character mistakes by following the Scout Oath and Law is part of the game's purpose as is having the Courtesy to express our thoughts civilly and listen to other viewpoints.

Maybe uniformed Scouts should, once again, be at all voting locations this November?

My $0.01 for rambling,

 

 

 

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We had a discussion along these lines some time ago in our unit committee/parent meeting...

The parents of our Scouts support having a girl Troop, but there are not enough to sign up to create one (youth and adults alike.)

If we were allowed to have a girl patrol, we would, just from the siblings who would like to be in the program..  And just like all of our other activities, we would have that patrol grow separately.

Patrols make up a Troop... a Troop is not made of patrols.  IMO, this mindset is critical to understanding the Patrol method, and how girls patrols would function in a female/male Troop.

Our unit parents do not support integrated patrols.  (Some [like me, who had a Venturer daughter earn her Summit], do not mind them after a certain age, but the majority of parents differ.) (I am the parent of an inaugural class Eagle daughter, and an Eagle son, both adults now.)

And, the parents do not support transgender or <insert your acronym here> Scouts becoming part of the Troop.  We do not discuss issues of religion and sexuality within the unit, but always defer those questions to parents.  (I tell parents I am happy to answer a Scout's questions on those subjects as long as we have the parent-leader discussion first.  This has worked well with Scouts with single mothers, for example...)

The culture we have is this: we tolerate your beliefs, and support your right to believe and behave differently, but we do not accept them in our unit.

Just as we do not allow Scouts who harm themselves and others physically or verbally, we will not allow those who, even unintentionally, harm others by pushing agendas which do not fit with the values of the parents.

Our unit is happy and strong... and our young men have strong positive well-adjusted role models (male and female) to learn from.  Until the parents and Committee of our unit change their minds on this, we will continue down our current path.

Yes, we have turned away Scouts with gender dysphoria and those who oversexualize their identity and language.  They need help that we cannot give them.

Yes, we have turned away Scouts and families who do not fit with the values our families have.  We refer them to other units who operate differently from us.

Scouting may be for everyone, but local unit Committees and CO's determine who they will accept as members.

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9 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Society is debating these bigger topics.  I disagree with "start having the conversations", "promote education ... on gender equality" and "empower men and boys ... on gender equality".  I fully believe in "creating a safe space" and "build the culture".  I believe we can do that very effectively.   The trouble with the first is that society is having huge debates still on these topics.  If you have conversations, you better be ready to listen to others that don't believe as you believe.  If you shut down people that have differing opinions, then you are not having a "conversation".  If you promote, you better get ready to receive push back.

Perhaps this is a product of us being effectively in different social spaces (especially thinking of us being from different countries here), but I don't know that society is debating whether it's okay to be violent towards women because they're women. I've never, ever, in my life heard anyone, male or female, young or old, any attribute or other you could choose, say that it's ok to hit women because they're women. In the path I've taken through life on this planet, that's completely outside the Overton window of every society I've been part of. No debate at all. It's universally condemned as far as I know in the US.

The WOSM statement went beyond just gender-based violence, of course, but I also don't know that society is debating whether women are equal in human value to men, either.  I've never heard a person IRL say that. Have you? If you have, I'd love to hear more about that. I've seen people on the Internet try to shift the Overton window on this issue, but I've still never met anyone who's willing to say out loud that they think that men have more intrinsic worth than women, or something closely related like that they think that men should get paid more than women for doing the same job with the same qualifications.

It seems wildly uncontroversial to say that women and men are equal in value to me. Like, "I support democracy" or "killing is wrong" politically uncontroversial. Up there with white walls and beige couches. Gender equality is a basic building block of at least European political culture (EU value 4). Saying that men and women are not equal in value and dignity is also outside the Overton window of every society I've ever lived in, best I can tell. It's just not something that's debated. There is, as far as I can tell, wide agreement on this issue. Have you met anyone who thinks that men have more inherent worth than women?

A lot of the gender equality the UN and WOSM is concerned about is from countries where it's much worse than here. What does seem to be going on in countries with globally high levels of gender equality is that there are individuals who do secretly think that it's ok to hit women because they're women and that men are have more intrinsic worth than women and act like it, but avoid stating these opinions out loud because they recognize that these opinions are outside the Overton window. 

In scouting, we have the Scout Promise/Oath and Scout Law as a common value foundation to operate off of. We are not a debate society. If it's outside the Overton window, I don't think we have some obligation to entertain it as a debate subject in our movement. Like you say, we've got better things to do, like getting on with the scouting. It's just not our role to debate ideas, especially ones that alienate some scouts and were outside the Overton window to begin with.

 

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8 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I guess it depends on what side of the fence one stands on where the haters are. Just look at the title of this discussion, The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters? One fairly new scouter even suggested I be censored on a discussion of mixed genders. Seems some folks are willing to push hostility to a new level to get what they want. So, explain to me why I should encourage my grandkids to join the BSA in this hostile environment. The game has lost the purpose.

I'm completely open to discussion about the logistics of girls being in the BSA, mixed gender troops, patrols, packs, etc. What I do not believe the organization should be tolerant of is opinions on whether girls should be welcome in the organization at all. That's not up for debate, the policy is settled on that. We're not going back. The BSA would sooner fold that suffer the societal backlash they'd face if they tried to undo this and kick the girls out.

If my thread title seems hostile, it is only in response to the hostility that the BSA allows toward members who are supposed to feel welcome here.

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20 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Seems some folks are willing to push hostility to a new level to get what they want.

Such is the culture we find ourselves in.  "Either you agree with me, or you will be neutralized and canceled."  There is no longer room for civil discourse.  I attribute it to the way those younger than us have been raised...never having been told "no" and rewarded for anything they do, noteworthy or not.  Temper tantrums worked growing up...why not continue into adulthood?

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21 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I guess it depends on what side of the fence one stands on where the haters are. Just look at the title of this discussion, The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters? One fairly new scouter even suggested I be censored on a discussion of mixed genders. Seems some folks are willing to push hostility to a new level to get what they want. So, explain to me why I should encourage my grandkids to join the BSA in this hostile environment. The game has lost the purpose.

Barry

Barry, I assume you're talking about me in the discussion about affinity groups? If so, you have misunderstood what I was saying, and you're going beyond the frames of civil discourse that in that you're not sticking to the issue (saying that girls shouldn't be in the BSA, especially with bitterness or vitriol, hurts the scouts it's aimed at and thus the BSA) and that you're telling how I feel and what my motivations are - and you're wrong about those. Please stick to civil discourse in the future. I have explicitly explained my motivations several times. Let me know if you need links to those posts. Perhaps you didn't read them?

As for your grandchildren - they should be welcome. If they do not feel welcome, then we need to understand why. If it's because someone isn't following the Scout Law, then that's something to correct. Can you give us an example of what hostile environments you or they have been in in the BSA, so that we can understand the issue better?

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